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(a) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this Code section, the driver of a vehicle meeting or overtaking from either direction any school bus stopped on the highway shall stop before reaching such school bus when there are in operation on the school bus the visual signals as specified in Code Sections 40-8-111 and 40-8-115, and such driver shall not proceed until the school bus resumes motion or the visual signals are no longer actuated.
(b) The driver of a vehicle upon a highway with separate roadways that are separated by a grass median, unpaved area, or physical barrier need not stop upon meeting or passing a school bus which is on the separate roadway or upon a controlled access highway when the school bus is stopped in a loading zone which is a part of or adjacent to such highway and where pedestrians are not permitted to cross the roadway.
(c) Every school bus driver who observes a violation of subsection (a) of this Code section is authorized and directed to record specifically the vehicle description, license number of the offending vehicle, and time and place of occurrence on forms furnished by the Department of Public Safety. Such report shall be submitted within 15 days of the occurrence of the violation to the local law enforcement agency which has law enforcement jurisdiction where the alleged offense occurred.
(d)(1) As used in this subsection, the term:
(A) “Agent” means a person or entity that is authorized by a law enforcement agency or governing body to administer the procedures contained herein and:
(i) Provides services to such law enforcement agency or governing body;
(ii) Operates, maintains, leases, or licenses a video recording device; or
(iii) Is authorized by such law enforcement agency or governing body to review and assemble the recorded images.
(B) “Owner” means the registrant of a motor vehicle, except that such term shall not include a motor vehicle rental company when a motor vehicle registered by such company is being operated by another person under a rental agreement with such company.
(C) “Recorded images” means images recorded by a video recording device mounted on a school bus with a clear view of vehicles passing the bus on either side and showing the date and time the recording was made and an electronic symbol showing the activation of amber lights, flashing red lights, stop arms, and brakes.
(D) “Video recording device” means a camera capable of recording digital images showing the date and time of the images so recorded.
(2) Subsection (a) of this Code section may be enforced by using recorded images as provided in this subsection.
(3) For the purpose of enforcement pursuant to this subsection:
(A) The owner of a motor vehicle shall be liable for a civil monetary penalty to the governing body of the law enforcement agency provided for in subparagraph (B) of this paragraph if such vehicle is found, as evidenced by recorded images, to have been operated in disregard or disobedience of subsection (a) of this Code section and such disregard or disobedience was not otherwise authorized by law. The amount of such civil monetary penalty shall be $250.00;
(B) The law enforcement agency authorized to enforce the provisions of this Code section shall send by first class mail addressed to the owner of the motor vehicle not later than ten days after obtaining the name and address of the owner of the motor vehicle:
(i) A citation for the alleged violation, which shall include the date and time of the violation, the location of the infraction, the amount of the civil monetary penalty imposed, and the date by which the civil monetary penalty shall be paid;
(ii) An image taken from the recorded image showing the vehicle involved in the infraction;
(iii) A copy of a certificate sworn to or affirmed by a certified peace officer employed by a law enforcement agency authorized to enforce this Code section and stating that, based upon inspection of recorded images, the owner's motor vehicle was operated in disregard or disobedience of subsection (a) of this Code section and that such disregard or disobedience was not otherwise authorized by law;
(iv) A statement of the inference provided by subparagraph (D) of this paragraph and of the means specified therein by which such inference may be rebutted;
(v) Information advising the owner of the motor vehicle of the manner and time in which liability as alleged in the citation may be contested in court; and
(vi) A warning that failure to pay the civil monetary penalty or to contest liability in a timely manner shall waive any right to contest liability and result in a civil monetary penalty;
(C) Proof that a motor vehicle was operated in disregard or disobedience of subsection (a) of this Code section shall be evidenced by recorded images. A copy of a certificate sworn to or affirmed by a certified peace officer employed by a law enforcement agency and stating that, based upon inspection of recorded images, a motor vehicle was operated in disregard or disobedience of subsection (a) of this Code section and that such disregard or disobedience was not otherwise authorized by law shall be prima-facie evidence of the facts contained therein; and
(D) Liability under this subsection shall be determined based upon preponderance of the evidence. Prima-facie evidence that the vehicle described in the citation issued pursuant to this subsection was operated in violation of subsection (a) of this Code section, together with proof that the defendant was at the time of such violation the registered owner of the vehicle, shall permit the trier of fact in its discretion to infer that such owner of the vehicle was the driver of the vehicle at the time of the alleged violation. Such an inference may be rebutted if the owner of the vehicle:
(i) Testifies under oath in open court or submits to the court a sworn notarized statement that he or she was not the operator of the vehicle at the time of the alleged violation and identifies the name of the operator of the vehicle at the time of the alleged violation; or
(ii) Presents to the court a certified copy of a police report showing that the vehicle had been reported to the police as stolen prior to the time of the alleged violation.
(4) A violation for which a civil penalty is imposed pursuant to this subsection shall not be considered a moving traffic violation for the purpose of points assessment under Code Section 40-5-57. Such violation shall be deemed noncriminal, and imposition of a civil penalty pursuant to this subsection shall not be deemed a conviction and shall not be made a part of the operating record of the person upon whom such liability is imposed, nor shall it be used for any insurance purposes in the provision of motor vehicle insurance coverage.
(5) If a person is mailed a citation by first class mail pursuant to subparagraph (B) of paragraph (3) of this subsection, such person may pay the penalty or request a court date. Any citation executed pursuant to this paragraph shall provide to the person issued the citation at least 30 business days from the mailing of the citation to inspect information collected by the video recording device in connection with the violation. If the person requesting a court date fails to appear on the date and time of such hearing or if a person has not paid the penalty for the violation or filed a police report or notarized statement pursuant to subparagraph (D) of paragraph (3) of this subsection, such person shall then be sent a second citation by first class mail. The second citation shall include all information required in subparagraph (B) of paragraph (3) of this subsection for the initial citation and shall include a hearing date and time. If a person fails to appear on the date and time of such hearing set out in the second citation or if the person has failed to pay the penalty or file an appropriate document for rebuttal, the person issued the second citation shall have waived the right to contest the violation and shall be liable for the civil monetary penalty provided in paragraph (3) of this subsection.
(6) Any court having jurisdiction over violations of subsection (a) of this Code section shall have jurisdiction over cases arising under this subsection. Any person receiving a notice pursuant to subparagraph (B) of paragraph (3) of this subsection shall have the right to contest such liability for the civil monetary penalty in the magistrate court or other court of competent jurisdiction for a traffic violation. Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, the provisions of law governing jurisdiction, procedure, defenses, adjudication, appeal, and payment and distribution of penalties otherwise applicable to violations of subsection (a) of this Code section shall apply to enforcement under this subsection except as provided in subparagraph (A) of paragraph (3) of this subsection; provided, however, that any appeal from superior or state court shall be by application in the same manner as that provided by Code Section 5-6-35.
(7) If a violation has not been contested and the assessed penalty has not been paid, the agent or governing body shall send to the person who is the registered owner of the motor vehicle a final notice of any unpaid civil monetary penalty authorized by this Code section, except in cases where there is an adjudication that no violation occurred or there is otherwise a lawful determination that no civil monetary penalty shall be imposed. The notice shall inform the registered owner that the agent or governing body shall send a referral to the Department of Revenue if the assessed penalty and any late fee is not paid within 30 days after the final notice was mailed and that such referral shall result in the nonrenewal of the registration of such motor vehicle and shall prohibit the title transfer of such motor vehicle within this state.
(8) The agent or governing body shall send a referral to the Department of Revenue not sooner than 30 days after the final notice required under paragraph (7) of this subsection was mailed if a violation of an ordinance or resolution adopted under this article has not been contested and the assessed penalty has not been paid. The referral to the Department of Revenue shall include the following:
(A) Any information known or available to the agent or governing body concerning the license plate number, year of registration, and the name of the owner of the motor vehicle;
(B) The date on which the violation occurred;
(C) The date when the notice required under this Code section was mailed; and
(D) The seal, logo, emblem, or electronic seal of the governing body.
(9) If the Department of Revenue receives a referral under paragraph (8) of this subsection, such referral shall be entered into the motor vehicle data base within five days of receipt and the Department of Revenue shall refuse to renew the registration of such motor vehicle and shall prohibit the title transfer of such vehicle within this state unless and until the civil monetary penalty plus any late fee is paid to the governing body. The Department of Revenue shall mail a notice to the registered owner of such motor vehicle that informs such owner:
(A) That the registration of the vehicle involved in the violation will not be permitted to be renewed;
(B) That the title of the vehicle involved in the violation will not be permitted to be transferred in this state;
(C) That the aforementioned penalties are being imposed due to the failure to pay the civil monetary penalty plus any late fee for an ordinance violation adopted under the authority of this Code section; and
(D) Of the procedure that the person may follow to remove the penalties.
(10) The Department of Revenue shall remove the penalties on a vehicle if any person presents the Department of Revenue with adequate proof that the penalty and any late fee, if applicable, has been paid.
(11) Recorded images made for purposes of this subsection shall not be a public record for purposes of Article 4 of Chapter 18 of Title 50.
(12) A governing authority shall not impose a civil penalty under this subsection on the owner of a motor vehicle if the operator of the vehicle was arrested or issued a citation and notice to appear by a certified peace officer for the same violation.
(13) A local school system may enter into an intergovernmental agreement with a local governing authority to offset expenses regarding the implementation and ongoing operation of video recording devices serving the purpose of capturing recorded images of motor vehicles unlawfully passing a school bus.
(14) Any school bus driver operating a vehicle equipped with an activated video recording device shall be exempt from the recording provisions of subsection (c) of this Code section.
(15) The money collected and remitted to the governing body pursuant to subparagraph (B) of paragraph (3) of this subsection shall only be used by such governing body to fund local law enforcement or public safety initiatives. This paragraph shall not preclude the appropriation of a greater amount than collected and remitted under this subsection.
Cite this article: FindLaw.com - Georgia Code Title 40. Motor Vehicles and Traffic § 40-6-163 - last updated April 14, 2021 | https://codes.findlaw.com/ga/title-40-motor-vehicles-and-traffic/ga-code-sect-40-6-163/
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